More than Running: Meet Heidi (Part 3 of 5)

“At the start of the pandemic, I witnessed many of our youth struggling and their mental health deteriorating. However, as soon as we were able to start programming back up with Girls on the Run, we saw visible improvements in the girls’ mental health.”

Heidi has been an integral part of making the team at New Freedom Park happen. When Heidi identified a need for girl-centric programming in the New Freedom community, she immediately thought of Girls on the Run and reached out on behalf of the Spring Institute. Heidi has seen first-hand the impact of Girls on the Run on the girls in this community and can attest to the fact that the lessons learned at Girls on the Run transcend practice days and help the girls connect outside of the program, manage conflicts at home or in school, and overall, impact the confidence that the girls have in themselves and their abilities. 

Heidi has many stories of how she has seen her Girls on the Run participants flourish but one that stands out was on a group camping trip last summer. It was towards the end of New Freedom’s very first Girls on the Run season that the Spring Institute hosted a camping trip for the kids in the neighborhood. Several Girls on the Run participants joined in on the fun and for one girl in particular, it was the first night she spent away from her family. When her teammates saw that their friend was upset, they rushed to her side. They supported her and encouraged her and Heidi knows that they learned to show this level of empathy through Girls on the Run.

Girls on the Run is about so much more than running. Participants learn how to be a good friend, how to stand up for themselves and others, and how to navigate conflict at home, at school, and with friends. Your support today means that you believe in the power of girls.